Lions' rookie Robinson receives high praise from mentor

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Haloti Ngata has accomplished it all during his 11-year NFL career. He has a Super Bowl ring, is a five-time All-Pro and been named to five Pro Bowls. But the Detroit Lions defensive tackle hasn’t seen many defensive linemen continue to steadily improve during their rookie seasons the way A’Shawn Robinson has this year.

“He’s going to be a great player,” Ngata said. “He’s growing, continuing to grow, one of the best rookie D-linemen I’ve seen progress during the season. Usually you kind of see rookies taper off at the end of the season, he’s gotten better and better. That’s great. He’s taken all the information in and all the teaching advice, he just goes with it.”

And what better mentor for Robinson to have than Ngata.

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“(Ngata's) an impact guy inside and outside of the locker room,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s an impact guy on the field of play and in the community. He does so many things even behind the scenes that no one catches a glimpse of because he’s a very, very humble individual as well as a great family man, but one of those guys with unusual physical traits and ability. He can run, hit, he’s strong, he’s powerful, he’s smart, he understands the game and he sets a great example for all of our young guys in that room.”

Robinson, a second-round pick out of Alabama, has steadily seen his role grown in Detroit’s defense. He appeared in all 16 games, starting the final four. He finished the year with 30 tackles, two sacks and batted down a team-high seven passes.

jdrogers@detnews.com

Twitter: @justin_rogers